Outage affects first day of online exams

A technical hitch marred the first day of online University of Otago exams.

Semester 2 exams, which are all being conducted online due to Covid-19 restrictions, began on Wednesday.

But some students were affected by a technical outage affecting Blackboard, an online teaching and learning platform, on Wednesday afternoon.

Acting academic deputy vice-chancellor Prof Pat Cragg said there were 15 exams, with 1147 students using Blackboard, about to start at the time of the outage.

It was not yet known how many students were directly affected.

Students were given an extra hour to do their exam because Blackboard was affected for about an hour, she said.

The disruption would also be taken into account by academic staff when marking exams.

"If students feel the outage affected them more substantially than their peers, they can apply for special consideration as well."

The outage was caused by an unexpected spike in demand on Blackboard, unrelated to exams, which occurred just before the 2.30pm exam start.

"To prevent this happening again, we have significantly increased the capacity of Blackboard and will continue to closely monitor its performance," Prof Cragg said.


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